When it’s time to list, you want your home to sell quickly for the highest price you can earn. The key is to carefully prepare your home to show with buyers in mind, to convince them it’s their perfect fit. Here are the steps to take.
Declutter. Homes look more attractive, more inviting, and bigger when the clutter is removed. Discard anything that you haven’t used in the past year. Pare down books, magazines, and knickknacks from shelves, and take everything off kitchen counters. Put away essential items you use daily in drawers, cabinets, or closets.
Depersonalize. Remove family photographs and personal items, such as diplomas, trophies, awards, and other memorabilia, and put them in storage. You want it to be easy for potential buyers to visualize the house as their future home, with their personal possessions.
Delete Furniture. Homes show better with less furniture. Rent a storage unit for furniture that interrupts the traffic flow; statement pieces, such as a brightly colored chair, a boldly patterned sofa, or a bearskin rug; distracting artwork; bookcases you’ve emptied. Take leaves from your dining table so the room looks bigger. Only leave enough furniture to show a room’s purpose, with space to move around.
Organize Closets and Cabinets. Buyers like to check how much space is available in closets and cabinets. Make sure these storage spaces are decluttered and organized. Group similar items of clothing and line up shoes. Neatly stack dishes, utensils, and spice jars in kitchen cabinets, and turn coffee cup handles to all face the same way.
Remove or Replace Items You’re Keeping. If you want to take window treatments, appliances, or fixtures with you, remove them and replace them if necessary before you show the house. It can hurt the sale if you have to tell buyers they can’t have an item they asked to be included in the purchase.
Do Minor Repairs. Patch holes in walls. Fix leaky faucets, drawers that jam, and doors that don’t close properly. Replace cracked tiles and damaged countertops. Repaint brightly colored walls in neutral colors. Make sure all the lights work.
Check Curb Appeal. Paint the front door, and add a wreath with dried wildflowers. Put a couple of flowerpots on the front entryway. Have a landscaper clean up the lawn and add a few flowering plants or shrubs. Fix cracks on your front steps or walkways.
Clean Thoroughly. Wash windows inside and out. Rent a power washer for the exterior and walkways. Caulk tubs, showers, sinks, polish fixtures, and clean mirrors. Remove dust under furniture, cabinets, and closets. Ideally, hire a professional cleaning crew.
Do a Final Check. Stand in the doorway of every room and judge how it looks to a buyer. Check that the window coverings hang evenly and rearrange furniture if necessary.
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